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Rain dampens progress but not spirit of volunteers

Gathered to help Marysville’s first off-leash dog park are, from left, Leslie Buell, Mike O’Brien, Joan Huehnerhoff, Debi Lundberg and city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew. -
Gathered to help Marysville’s first off-leash dog park are, from left, Leslie Buell, Mike O’Brien, Joan Huehnerhoff, Debi Lundberg and city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew.
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MARYSVILLE — Community Information Officer Doug Buell said he and about 12 volunteers spent all day Sept. 20 attempting to install the fence that will surround the city’s first off-leash dog park.

Buell said that despite some uncooperative weather, volunteers, who were mostly members of the Marysville Dog Owner’s Group, or M-Dog, dug holes for 187 fence posts. Each hole now contains a post and about 100 of those posts are cemented in place.

“On a perfect day, we would have gotten them all done,” Buell said.

Eventually, however, the elements became even less cooperative and volunteers had to scrap a planned second day of work at the site near Strawberry Fields. Buell said rain the night of Sept. 20 simply made the field too muddy for any further efforts to take place the following day.

City Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew said city crews now will finish installing the fencing for the park. The city will hold its “Make a Difference Day” on Oct. 25, during which volunteers will be invited to help create a mulch trail to the dog park. Ballew said he hopes to have the park open for business by November.

“That’s our target,” he said.

In July, with little debate, City Council gave formal approval to the creation of the dog park on the southeast corner of Strawberry Fields. Ballew several times has emphasized the location will not encroach into or interfere with any existing athletic fields.

He also has emphasized that the park is temporary in nature, that it could be moved if needed. Ballew recommended to council that the park be set up for one year, with the city monitoring its use and upkeep.

That upkeep largely will fall to M-Dog. Group president Leslie Buell said the organization will use funds raised during the annual Poochapalooza event to keep the park in order.

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